Monday, March 13, 2006

Two Poll Weekend - One Real, One Fake

The Boston Globe announced the results of their latest poll yesterday, showing Attorney General Tom Reilly leading in the Democratic Primary and all three potential candidates coming out ahead of Republican Lieutenant Governor Kerry Healey in a hypothetical general election.

The full results hold a clue as to why Deval Patrick has so much ground to make of regarding his still-low name recognition. When asked how interested respondents where in the 2006 gubernatorial election, 20% said 'extremely', 39% said 'very', and a whopping 41% said some or little. Given that people love to over-represent their civic engagement to pollsters, I think it's safe to say that half the electorate isn't really paying much attention to the race, and is not particularly interested in doing so. It's no surprise that Patrick has yet to break through to those folks. That said, Deval Patrick has gone from 0% name recognition to 50% over the course of a year when no one other than political junkies were paying attention to the gubernatorial race, which is no small feat.

Here are the splits for the Democratic candidate, Lieutenant Governor Kerry Healey and Independent candidate Christy Mihos:

Tom Reilly (D)40%
Kerry Healey (R)26%
Christy Mihos (I)15%
Deval Patrick (D)36%
Kerry Healey (R)29%
Christy Mihos (I)13%
Chris Gabrieli, who pulled papers to run for governor as a Democrat over the weekend, polls about even with Healey, winning 31% to 30% with Mihos getting 13%. The poll is great news for state Democrats if only because Healey can't seem to break thirty percent. What's even worse for the Republicans is how many Romney votes from 2002 they lose. Here is the breakdown for only 2002 Romney voters by who they chose in this poll, for each triplet:

Versus Reilly45%19%21%
Versus Patrick51%13%18%
Versus Gabrieli50%12%19%

According to these numbers, Kerry Healey could lose as much as 40% of the 2002 Romney vote. She would gain some support from people who voted for Shannon O'Brien that year, but not nearly as much as she loses. As I've tried to show before, state Republicans must be extremely loyal to their party to be successful. If thirty to forty percent of them abandon ship on Healey and vote for either the Democrat or Christy Mihos, then they're not going to have a chance at holding on to the governor's office.

Speaking of the Governor, Mitt Romney himself was the star of a straw poll held at the Southern Republican Leadership Conference on Saturday in Memphis, Tennessee. While Senator Bill Frist won the poll of potential 2008 presidential candidates with 36.9% percent of the vote on his home turf, Governor Mitt Romney came in a surprising second with 14.4%. The results of any straw poll are generally for entertainment purposes only, and in this case Frist was accused of bussing people in to vote for him. Not only that, but Senator John McCain, who came in fourth, was urging his supporters to vote, not for him, but for President Bush, as a show of support for the President. Bush came in tied for third with 10.3% with Virginia Senator George Allen. Again, the results of this poll are not only so early as to be meaningless, but also so manipulated as to be worthless even as a snapshot of how southern Republican leaders are thinking. Still, Governor Romney's second place finish was about as good for Mitt as he could have expected. I guess all those trips to Spartanburg, SC have paid off. If we're lucky, maybe he'll stay down there.